Conference Call: Amanda McBroom & John Bucchino: "Sweet Dreams and Roses" Concert
What an honor it is to interview singer/songwriters Amanda McBroom & John Bucchino. Amanda’s most famous hit song is the international classic “The Rose,” which has been recorded over 25 times, and was the title song for the hit movie The Rose, starring and sung by Bette Midler. John’s songs have been recorded by such music luminaries as Art Garfunkel, Judy Collins, Liza Minnelli, Patti LuPone, Kristin Chenoweth, Audra McDonald, and Yo-Yo-Ma.
Friends and writing partners for many years, Amanda and John are about to join forces once again in their first ever joint concert. Sweet Dreams and Roses, produced by Hillary Rollins (daughter of Jack Rollins: Manhattan and Annie Hall), is a special evening that will feature selections from their many tunes for film, theatre, cabaret and pop. It’s a rare chance to hear these gems played and sung by the artists who created them. It’s not only a concert of great music, but a chance to get to know the “hearts behind the hits”, as they trade stories and share insights and glimpses into their rich artistic journeys.
Sweet Dreams and Roses will play Upstairs at Vitello’s (4349 Tujunga Ave, Studio City, CA) on Sunday, April 28 at 7:30pm. Click here for tickets!
Prior to this incredible evening, John will be teaching a Master Class in Hollywood on Saturday, April 27 from 12pm-4pm.
With a maximum of only 10 students, this is a unique opportunity for singers to experience a composer’s insights into his own work, and to learn how to communicate through song more effectively.
Before starting the class, each singer will choose a John Bucchino song to prepare (music available from John’s website and other sources).
In the class students will each have a 20 minute slot in which to perform the song twice – the first time with an accompanist, while John watches and listens. He will then personally coach the student, and after the coaching, the student performs the song again, this time with John at the piano.
Slots are limited to 10 participants.
The class costs $180. Register by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Location is provided after registration is complete.
1. On April 28, you are performing together for the very first time in your concert Sweet Dreams and Roses. What made now the right time to present a joint concert together?
Amanda McBroom: We have threatened to do a concert together for MANY YEARS! I figured, while I can still put on eyelashes, now would be the time.
Seriously, I love his music so very much. And in these strange times, music is one of the great unites. I thought let us two unite and hopefully bring some joy to troubled hearts.
John Bucchino: We’ve been talking about performing together for years, having been long-time friends and admirers of one another as artists. I think a number of factors came together to prompt Amanda to call me and suggest we finally put a show together:
- I live in Tucson now, a quick hop from LA.
- She was coming here to visit our mutual pal Ann Hampton Callaway, which provided an opportunity for us to rehearse.
- We’re not getting any younger, and it’s best to check things off that bucket list!
2. What are you looking forward to most about performing together?
Amanda McBroom: Just mingling our musical energies. I have longed to sing his songs WITH him. Pray that I can remember his impossibly perfect lyrics!
John Bucchino: Amanda is such a brilliant actor - one of the best communicators of a lyric I’ve ever heard. So the idea of her singing my songs is always thrilling. Add to that the joy of getting to accompany her on her own glorious songs - I’ve been learning some I didn’t know, and am dazzled all over again at her remarkable, relatable, songwriting. And, as an added bonus, I adore her as a person and we laugh a lot. I suspect that all the fun we’ll be having doing this show will resonate with the audience as well, adding to their enjoyment.
3. What was the process like of putting this concert together as compared to writing songs together?
Amanda McBroom: It was last minute madness. We had one day together in Tucson, when we were at the same place at the same time. The delicious diva Ann Hampton Callaway offered us her music room and keyboard, and we picked our favorite songs and tried to make them fit in a logical progression. Talk about a plethora of riches to choose from! Musical cookery!
John Bucchino: We’ve written a few songs together (two of which will be included in this evening). Our writing process has always consisted of Amanda sending me a finished lyric, and me setting it to music. Simple as that. Her lyrics are so well-structured and emotional, they easily evoke music for me.
Putting this show together was a bit like writing a song, in that we had to organize the elements for tone, variety and build. There were, of course a few songs we HAD to include: Amanda’s “The Rose” and my “Sweet Dreams,” which was the first song of mine she sang and recorded. Plus the two songs we co-wrote, and others on which we each insisted: one of my favorite Amanda songs, “Putting Things Away,” and one of mine called “Sepia Life” that she’s always wanted to sing. Throw in a few funny ones, some sexy ones (hers), some rarely heard ones (mine), and voila! We have a concert!
4. What can audiences expect from this concert?
Amanda McBroom: A feast of beautiful music. Some deep thoughts. And plenty of hilarity.
John Bucchino: I would like to think they can expect to be deeply moved, to have some laughs, to experience some revelations about life and love, and hopefully let go of their troubles and the troubles of the world while they’re in the musical bubble we create.
5. Since the evening is called Sweet Dreams and Roses, what is your favorite color Rose and what is one sweet dream you have had recently?
Amanda McBroom: Oooh…love this question! My favorite color of rose would be Mr. Lincoln…DEEP RED. A sweet dream…being reunited with my dear now-departed pal Lynn Taylor for a walk along the beach in Hawaii. I remember telling her in my dream “Do you know we are going to be best friends for the next 35 years?” She laughed.
John Bucchino: I prefer purple roses (they smell best too!) A dream…hmmm…I mostly don’t remember my dreams. But this concert with my friend Amanda is certainly a sweet dream that’s finally, happily coming true!
More on Amanda:
Amanda McBroom has been called “…the greatest cabaret performer of her generation, an urban poet who writes like an angel and has a voice to match” by The New York Times. Broadway World describes her as “… one of the greatest night club performers of all time. Her lyrics are profound and express human emotions in glorious poetry. Her humor is so smart and she sings and acts it all brilliantly.”
She first came to the attention music lovers when Bette Midler’s version of Amanda’s song “The Rose” hit number one all over the world in 1979. In addition to Midler, her songs have been recorded by a wide variety of artists including Amy Poehler and Jack Black, Barry Manilow, Judy Collins, Barbara Cook, LeAnn Rimes, Anne Murray, Harry Belafonte, Betty Buckley, Stephanie Mills, The Manhattan Transfer, Donny Osmond, Kurt Cobain, Nana Mouskouri, Conway Twitty, the Chipmunks and the Baby Dinosaurs in Land Before Time (she wrote all the songs for 16 Universal Cartoon videos with longtime collaborator Michele Brourman).
Amanda’s performance of “The Rose” on the Golden Globes (she won!) convinced audiences worldwide that the best interpretations of McBroom songs are by McBroom herself and applaud her in concert halls around the world from, Carnegie Hall to Angel Place Recital Hall in Sydney, Australia.
Her love of musical theatre (she starred in the New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and European productions of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, on Broadway in Seesaw, and in productions of Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music and Mame) compelled her to create a musical based on her songs. Heartbeats made its debut in 1989 in Los Angeles, and the play has enjoyed more than 15 regional theater productions around the U.S. The original cast recording was released in 1994 on Varese Sarabande Records, and is represented by the Rogers and Hammerstein Music Library. Amanda’s latest musical, A Woman of Will, made its off-Broadway debut in 2005.
Amanda recently celebrated the release of VOICES, her sixth recording on Gecko, the label she established in 1985. Other Gecko recordings include Dreaming, Midnight Matinee, A Waiting Heart, Portraits, and Chanson. In addition, she has recorded: Live From Rainbow and Stars (DRG), Heartbeats (Varese Sarabande), and A Woman of Will (LML Music). Her first two groundbreaking vinyl recordings, Growing Up In Hollywood Town and West of OZ, were recorded direct to disc for Sheffield Labs and made McBroom an audiophile darling.
More on John:
John Bucchino's songs have been performed and recorded by renowned pop (Art Garfunkel, Judy Collins), theatre (Liza Minnelli, Patti LuPone, Kristin Chenoweth, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Audra McDonald), cabaret (Barbara Cook, Michael Feinstein), and classical (Yo-Yo Ma, Deborah Voight, Nathan Gunn), artists as well as The Boston Pops, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in venues including Carnegie Hall, The Metropolitan Opera, The Hollywood Bowl, The Sydney Opera House, London’s O2 Arena and The White House.
Among his honors are two Drama Desk nominations, The Johnny Mercer Songwriter Award, The ASCAP Foundation Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award, The Jonathan Larson Award, The Kleban Award, The Los Angeles Ovation Award (for the revue IT’S ONLY LIFE), The DVD Premiere Award (for the song “Better Than I”), and the first annual Fred Ebb Award.
He has written scores for the musicals URBAN MYTHS, LAVENDER GIRL, Broadway’s A CATERED AFFAIR (nominated for 12 Drama Desk Awards, and winner of the New York Drama League Award for Best Musical, with a book by Harvey Fierstein), IT’S ONLY LIFE, and the Dreamworks animated film JOSEPH, KING OF DREAMS, and lyrics for the children’s musical SIMEON’s GIFT (with a book by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton and music by Ian Fraser). Some recordings of his work are: GRATEFUL, THE SONGS OF JOHN BUCCHINO (with companion songbook), SOLITUDE LESSONS (another collection of original songs), ON RICHARD RODGERS’ PIANO (solo piano interpretations of Rodgers songs on the composer’s own Steinway, voted Best Instrumental CD by Show Business Weekly), and the PS Classics releases of the cast albums of IT’S ONLY LIFE (with companion songbook) and A CATERED AFFAIR. As part of their Julie Andrews Collection, Harper Collins published a children's book, based on John’s song, called “Grateful, A Song of Giving Thanks” which was awarded the Parents’ Choice Gold Award.